Striper Fishing on Utah’s Lake Powell

The lake level is now falling at about one foot per week. The inflow today is only 8,000 acre-feet while outflow has increased to over 23,000 acre-feet. The most recent low water level of 3,555 feet may happen as soon as the first week of August. Monsoon rain is the only chance of slowing down the decline during the summer.

The best time to go fishing is at dawn. The travel lanes are calmer and slurping stripers are more active from first light to 9 a.m. Yesterday we went to Warm Creek and found slurping stripers in many different locations as soon as we entered the canyon. In the previous week, our best lures were Kastmasters because we could make long casts with the heavier lures and slurping stripers were willing to bite these lures. This week we were disappointed because the constantly slurping stripers were all yearling fish that measured about 9 to 12 inches. These small stripers were much more interested in the small, half-inch shad than the much larger spoons. Stripers in Rock Creek last week were larger fish that were ready to eat a larger lure.

If the stripers are small, downsize the lure or become more innovative by adding a dry fly and towing it behind the heavier lure which is easier to cast with a spinning or casting reel. Obviously, the best technique during our experience yesterday would have been to use a fly fishing outfit. We easily got within casting range of the many small schools of surface feeding fish, but they were much more interested in the tiny larval shad than a large Kastmaster spoon. Our other option was to travel further uplake where we caught larger stripers last week. It is also possible that the bigger stripers were not able to stay on the surface now that the water has warmed into the 80s. Mature stripers cannot withstand “hot” surface water. They have to drop down to 20 to 30 feet deep where water is cooler. We tried trolling in the vicinity of slurping schools and caught as many stripers on trolling lures as we did on topwater lures.

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